Call early, and you have more options. Call later, and you have fewer.
A business owner was the target of scurrilous gossip and accusations on the Internet. Because his business community and social circle were tight-knit and intertwined, his reputation was being damaged in both.
But he waited several months before seeking help. This happens too often.
Why did he wait? He’d tried to ignore the damage, until he could stand it no longer. By then, the damage was embedded.
If you were the target, how would you respond, and why?
Are the allegations true, but you don’t know what to do? Are they partially true, but you don’t want to call more attention to them or yourself? Or are they completely off-base, and you trust everyone will realize that by themselves and be on your side?
If they’re untrue, never let them linger. It doesn’t matter whether they’re written or whispered. If unchallenged, that’s what people are likely to believe and remember.
Nuggets of truth woven into fabrications are the most dangerous. They make for the most believable lies. As painful or embarrassing as it may be at the moment, you must own up to your missteps, ferret out the falsehoods, and set the record straight.
If the things being said are true but you wait too long to do something about it, you miss the opportunity to frame the story. It’s now a distant blur in the rearview mirror, and what people believe has been established.
But not all is lost. You can use this as an opportunity for improvement. Pivot away from the mistakes, show people you’re making strides to be better, and shift the focus towards a brighter future.
“Because Reputation Is Your Most Valuable Asset”
Gillott Communications is a Strategic PR firm. We’re Fixers. Crisis & Reputation Management. Litigation. Media Relations. Crisis Prep. More than half a century of expertise working with clients to resolve issues both in and outside the media’s glare — in their professional and personal lives.
If you don’t already subscribe, please sign up for our blog, Insights on High-Stakes PR.
For a deeper glimpse into our world, see our book on Amazon, “A Lawyer’s Guide to Crisis PR: Protecting Your Clients In & From the Media.”
Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net